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Could Mediation Help Your Business?

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A Strategic Approach to Dispute Resolution in Business

Companies and businesses involved in any kind of commercial dispute will benefit from a clear-headed and strategic approach to dispute resolution. Commercial mediation is often the right choice, and is increasingly used in cases ranging from small business matters to international disputes worth multi-millions of dollars. Why is mediation such an important part of the landscape?

Business Strategy.

Companies choose mediation for a number of reasons, preferably as the first option if things turn sour, but invariably as part of their business strategy on dispute resolution. First, it offers a significantly quicker and less stressful way to resolve disputes than the customary legal methods and the worrying prospect of litigation. Corporate risk is also drastically reduced with both parties retaining control of the financial costs and outcome of the dispute. Finally it is forward-looking and offers great flexibility in the settlement terms, to account for the circumstances of the companies including resources, timing, the control of publicity, and ongoing business relationships. Opting for mediation is a business decision to support business goals and is often best used early in a dispute. Importantly, English courts encourage the consideration of mediation during any litigation process and a refusal to mediate can result in costs sanctions. Not compelling parties to mediate, the court’s message is that they should think very carefully before deciding not to.

Creative Business Settlement.

Mediation sessions being held “without prejudice” can often explore creative solutions that would simply not be possible in a Court judgement. They are not based on the “position-taking” of more traditional negotiation, but focus instead on the business interests of the parties. Facts show that over 75% of mediations result in an immediate settlement, with a further 10% getting to agreement within a few days, with a high degree of compliance.

How is it done?

An experienced and qualified mediator will facilitate principled negotiations between parties to help them find an outcome they can both agree. Typically this will be done with legal representation for both parties, as the mediator will not give legal advice or attempt to decide any matter. Mediators earn their fee by shifting the focus from the parties’ established positions to settlement itself. The companies and their lawyers equally invest time and effort, spending probably a full day with the mediator in a structured and disciplined discussion focused on their mutual and serious intent to settle. Hugely powerful as a process, a good mediator will often achieve a result far beyond original expectations with significant cost savings.

Choosing a mediator.

Good mediators come from a variety of professional backgrounds including law, engineering, management, and many more. They are appointed by agreement with both parties, sometimes via mediation service providers or directly with the individual mediator. However chosen, the mediator should be properly trained, experienced and accredited.